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March madness healthy snack guide

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March madness is here. Many Americans are spending time in front of the television to catch the excitement watching some of the best amateur basketball players in the country try to become the next national champions. It's a time for groups of friends to get together, watch the games, and share some snacks.

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For those that are trying to eat healthy, this can present some difficulties

Many of the snack foods that are advertised at the grocery store are overly processed, and are loaded with chemicals and less than healthy ingredients. Fortunately there are some options available beside chips, pizza, and wings.

With a little bit of prep work ahead of time, you will be able to enjoy some healthy snacks with your friends, and not miss a minute of the action on the court.

1. Homemade Hummus

1-15 oz. can of non-gmo chickpeas
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup parsley (stems removed and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Place and all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Parmesan Chicken Breast Strips

2 lb. cage-free boneless, skinless chicken breast
3/4 cup grated parmesan

Cut the chicken breasts into strips approx. 3/4 to 1-inch wide. Roll the strips in the grated Parmesan cheese until they are coated. Lay the chicken strips in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spry. bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

3. Fresh Guacamole

3 ripe avocados
1/8 cup onion, finely diced
1 T jalapeno pepper, minced
1/8 cup ripe tomato, diced
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. lime juice

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. Trail Mix

1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 T sunflower seed
2 T flax seeds
1/4 cup non-gmo, whole grain cereal

Toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl and serve. Feel free to substitute with any of your own favorite ingredients.

5. Sweet Potato Fries

3 sweet potatoes, or yams
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
3 T olive oil

Cut the sweet potatoes into 3/8 inch fries.

Combine paprika, brown sugar, and sea salt. Toss the sweet potatoes in the sugar blend.

Spread olive oil on a baking sheet. Place sweet potato fries in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and bake in a 450-degree oven for about 8-9 minutes, or until the fries are crispy. Serve while they're still hot.

These five, simple recipes will be sure to be a big hit with your guests, and leave you free to concentrate on cheering your bracket picks on to victory.

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